Depression can be a debilitating condition that inhibits your day-to-day life. That’s why many are incorporating a depression self care checklist into their daily routine.
Admittedly, your checklist is going to look different from someone else’s. And we are by no means claiming the steps we’ve laid out here are concrete.
Since depression is a complex disease, it has different effects on all its victims. With that said, it may take some trial and error before you find the right depression self care checklist for you.
What Does Self Care Mean?
When we use the term “self care,” it’s likely everyone’s going to have their own definition. For some, it can be as simple as taking a shower or eating well. For others, it may be relaxing or taking some time to ease stress.
In order for you to define self care, it’s important to consider what makes you feel less depressed. For example, one of the most difficult aspects of depression is avoiding activities you once enjoyed. ¹ In turn, self care for you may be participating in those activities again.
While this article will go over self care tips, it’s key to personalize your depression self care checklist. As with treating depression, there’s no one-size-fits-all model to follow.
Why Routine is Important for Depression
When you initially devise your depression self care checklist, you’ll likely find it difficult to take those first steps. This is only natural as the purpose of this checklist is to break the habits of depression.
Ultimately, depression is a series of lifestyle choices you make continually that are inevitably worsening your life. For example, you may have gotten into the habit of over- or under-sleeping. Or you may have gotten in the habit of eating unhealthy foods that are worsening your condition. ²
With a counteractive routine (or, a self care checklist), you’re taking the steps necessary to break these bad habits. Over time, your brain and body will naturally become accustomed to the positive habits – effectively reducing depressions impact on your life. ³
Depression Self Care Checklist | Step-by-Step Guide
As mentioned, there’s no checklist that will universally help with depression. With that, our checklist is based upon common problems people face when struggling with depression. You may find yourself editing this checklist to better accommodate to your situation and we encourage that!
Step 1 – Maintain Treatment
Even with the best self care routine, there’s no denying that depression treatment is the most effective means of overcoming this condition.
If you’re currently on a treatment plan, ensure that you maintain it. This means to make sure you’re always on top of your medication as well as going to therapy when scheduled.
Not to mention, you may find it helpful to further treatment by incorporating natural herbs and supplements for depression.
Step 2 – Incorporate These Six Habits into Daily Routine
We’ve already discussed that depression is a habit. Therefore, the best way to break this habit is by promoting healthier lifestyle routines.
When it comes to depression, there are six daily routines you should always consider:
- Eating Healthier Meals – It’s no secret that the wrong nutrition can heighten your depression. Therefore, it’s key to ensure you’re eating healthy on a regular basis to promote positive effects in the brain and body. ⁴
- Drinks Enough Water – Did you know that people who drink less water are more likely to develop anxiety and depression? ⁵ Keeping that in mind, it’s always good to ensure you’re receiving your recommended daily intake (3.7 liters for men, 2.7 liters for women).
- Get Enough Sleep – Those who struggle with sleep disorders are more likely to develop depression. ⁶ Beyond getting the right amount of sleep (between 7 and 9 hours daily), you want to also ensure you’re going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day.
- Be Active for 30 Minutes a Day – It’s no secret that exercise helps to counteract depression. ⁷ Still, not everyone has the ability to workout. With that said, it can help greatly to keep your body active for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Get Outside – When we spend more time indoors, we’re more likely to feel gloomy. This is for the simple fact that lack of sunlight diminishes vitamin D levels in the body, leading to conditions such as seasonal depression. ⁸ It can help to take your daily 30 minutes of activity outdoors.
- Stay Social – The less you interact with others, the lonelier you’ll inevitably feel. Naturally, loneliness is one of the biggest reasons for depression. ⁹ With that, it’s important to stay in touch with friends and loved ones.
Step 3 – Keep Your Living Area Clean
It may not initially seem like it, but the more cluttered and messy your living area, the better chance depression has over you.
The main reason for this something called decision fatigue – the inability to make decisions due to overwhelming stress or anxiety. ¹⁰ So, what exactly does a cluttered home have to do with decision fatigue?
Quite simply, our homes are filled with daily decisions we sometimes don’t even consider – from what to eat for dinner to doing the laundry. Each piece of clutter in our home is also a decision – to put it away, throw it away, or make some other use for it.
If your bedroom has a messy corner where you’ve been throwing random things, you’re making a decision every time you see it. A decision to not deal with the clutter.
Naturally, this decision is going to leave you feel more depressed. And the more this clutter piles up, the more overwhelming such a decision is going to feel.
The best solution for this problem is to make an initial clean of your home. From there, you’ll want to maintain it as much as possible. Even just ten minutes per day can make all the difference.
Step 4 – Plan Your Days Out Ahead of Time
When we’re in the midst of depression, chances are we feel overwhelmed by daily activities. For this reason, it can help to make a schedule of your day the night before.
How precise you want to be with this schedule is up to you. Some like to simply make a list of what needs to be done. Others like to go into more detail, planning out activities by the hour.
Either way, by planning out your day as such, you’re making a set of goals for yourself. And through these goals, you’ll likely feel better come the day’s end.
If you’re struggling with severe depression, it can help to make goals simple. For example, your goal may just be to take a shower or dress into something nice.
However, as time progresses, you’ll likely further your goals into smaller steps to a bigger achievement!
When it comes to a depression self care checklist, these were the steps we found to be most effective in overcoming this condition. Still, it’s important to remember that everyone struggles with depression differently.
With that, one person may finding adding or taking away from this checklist to be beneficial. It’ll likely take some trial and error before you find the right depression self care checklist for you.
Still have questions about our depression self care checklist?
We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further knowledge to share – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.
¹ National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Depression
² International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Evidence of the Importance of Dietary Habits Regarding Depressive Symptoms and Depression
³ BMC Psychiatry: Lifestyle medicine for depression
⁴ Indian Journal of Psychiatry: Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses
⁵ World Journal of Psychiatry: Drinking plain water is associated with decreased risk of depression and anxiety in adults: Results from a large cross-sectional study
⁶ Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience: Sleep disorders as core symptoms of depression
⁷ Frontiers in Psychiatry: Physical Exercise in Major Depression: Reducing the Mortality Gap While Improving Clinical Outcomes
⁸ Environmental Health (BMC): Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants: a REGARDS cross-sectional study
⁹ Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research: Relationship Between Loneliness, Psychiatric Disorders and Physical Health ? A Review on the Psychological Aspects of Loneliness
¹⁰ HHS Public Access: Decision Fatigue: A Conceptual Analysis